It was a triumphant debut for international mountain runner Gary Priestley at Sunday’s South Cheshire 20. He won in 1:52:17 at his first time at this distance.
The Salford Harrier and inov-8 ambassador finished over two minutes ahead of Phil Dickens of Cambridge Harriers, second in 1:54:43. Daniel Kestrel of Barnsley AC took third place in 1:58:04.
Rachel Wood of Blackburn Harriers won the women’s race in 2:15:16 and was 19th overall. There was a gap of over nine minutes between her and Sian Evans of Steel City Striders, who was second in 2:24:21. Emma Sharples of Swinton RC was third in 2:29:43. The last runner crossed the line in 3:57:35.
The race started at 9.30am from Shavington Leisure Centre in Crewe with nearly 190 runners completing a challening, hilly course. The wet conditions didn’t prevent many from achieving a PB as they made their way around country lanes in Cheshire and Staffordshire before heading back towards the Leisure Centre. There was a memento for all finishers with refreshments provided to aid with recovery.
The race was efficiently organised by South Cheshire Harriers who first held this event in 2002. The 20-miler is used as preparation for an autumn marathon and is number 18 out of 23 in the North Staffs Road Runners Association (NSRRA) programme.
A percentage of the profits were donated to two charities, Crewe & Nantwich Cancer Research UK and Shine Bright.